Good news all around

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An artist’s rendition of the IATGlobal building planned for the Bloomfield Business Park. It will occupy six acres near Highway 401.

News that IATGlobal will build a $6 million facility in the Bloomfield Business Park has to have the folks in the municipal economic development offices smiling for a slew of reasons.

Any time there is development of that nature – 47,000 square-feet, with the potential for new jobs in Chatham-Kent – that’s a feather in the proverbial cap.

Local development is rarely considered a bad thing.

And it’s located in the Bloomfield Business Park, an albatross of sorts that has hung around the collective neck of municipal administration since before Randy Hope took office as mayor. Yes, it was purchased and serviced THAT long ago.

With the IATGlobal addition, 23 acres of the property is developed. That sounds great, right? Except there are still 73 acres of available land in the park.

Optimists will look at this as a business park one quarter full, while the pessimists will see it at three quarters empty.

The business park is located with Highway 401 visibility, and the land is already serviced with municipal water, sanitary and storm sewers, three-phase electrical, natural gas and fibre.

It’s ready to grow. It has been for years.

Economic development folks also have to be overjoyed with the immediacy of the project. Aleem Ahamed, President and CEO of The Regency Group, which owns IATGlobal, said the plan is to break ground as soon as possible.

There have been numerous planned developments in Chatham-Kent that were announced with great fanfare that either didn’t occur (Brightenview in Blenheim’s business park), or are slowly taking shape (Boardwalk on the Thames in downtown Chatham).

Both of those projects also came with some political baggage. The Brightenview announcement, with its $45 million, 500-job potential, surfaced less than two months before the 2014 municipal election. It could be argued the announcement helped Hope get re-elected to some extent.

Boardwalk developer Victor Boutin in 2010 tied his project to the re-election of Hope.

This time around, with the municipal election more than a year away, there are no strings attached.

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